U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) recently joined 162 of his colleagues, urging Congressional leaders to include a $120 billion revitalization fund for small and independent restaurants in future COVID-19 relief packages or year-end spending bills.

The proposal, the RESTAURANTS Act of 2020, passed the U.S. House in October. It would establish a restaurant revitalization fund that can be used for multiple expenses, including rent, maintenance, payroll and benefits, supplies, utilities, and food.

“The restaurant sector is the second-largest private employer after health care, and for countless Americans, they provide the first opportunity for a job,” the letter said. “These businesses are the beating heart of communities across America, but the pandemic puts their survival in jeopardy. This threat affects restaurants and their employees and every other link in the $1 trillion restaurant supply chain. The food supply chain touches every corner of the country and supports tens of millions of livelihoods, including farmworkers, fishermen, and truck drivers. A new round of restaurant closures is likely to have dire effects on the entire food supply chain.”

According to a June study on the legislation, the bill would generate $65 billion in secondary benefits and at least $183 billion in primary benefits.